How The Web Is Changing Research

This is a guest post by Sam. If you want to guest post on this site, then please read our guidelines here.

Whether one is a student, lawyer or science scholar, the Internet has changed the way that people do research. Research for projects is not as intensive as it once may have been. More notably, social scientists now frequently offer their research to the public prior to publishing it in a prestigious academic journal.

The way that content is distributed is completely different from years before. Social scientists can now freely share their work online and through various science based organizations, and they can easily find people who are willing to help out with their projects. Here are a few of the reasons why the web is changing the nature of research:

Better Tools

Researchers in the field of law have witnessed a dramatic change in their field. About ten to fifteen years ago, Lexis Nexis and Westlaw were the leading research tools for researchers. The problem is that research tools like Lexis Nexis and Westlaw are incredibly expensive for lawyers and legal scholars. Running just one search on one of these platforms can cost $10 or $15.

Now, legal scholars frequently use Google Scholar to access the latest cases to hit the web instead of resorting to Westlaw or Lexis Nexis. Using Google Scholar allows legal scholars to save thousands of dollars in a given year. Google Scholar and other free research tools have transformed the way that academics are choosing to pursue their research projects.

Distribution of Information

Social scientists have greatly benefitted from the free distribution of research papers on the Internet. Social scientists now frequently share their work with peers on the Internet and are also able to gain credibility in this way. In prior years, social scientists were forced to submit their research to prestigious academic journals and hope that they would be published.

Peer Review

Social scientists can now achieve prestige in the world of social science by merely sharing their work with their peers and obtaining a few good reviews. Prestigious journals are no longer needed for establishing one’s self as a respected scholar. The Social Science Research Network is just one example of a leading network that allows professors to publish their work before publication. Works that are displayed on the Social Science Research Network are often more successful on this platform than they would be in other platforms that require a monthly fee or a membership.

Overall, the Internet has had a positive impact on the ability of serious academics to share their research with one another. It has provided less expensive search tools, changed the way information is distributed, and enabled more efficient peer review. In the coming years, we can expect an even greater impact on research from online innovation.

 ABOUT AUTHOR: This Guest Post was contributed by Sam Peters, who blogs about how the web is changing the way social scientists share their work.  One organization helping scientists freely share their projects and findings with peers around the world is Huntingdon Life Sciences.

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